Fernand Pareau

Fernand portrait for stars page
The Alps
Day job:
Mountain Guide


For French mountain guide Fernand Pareau it was "truly love at first sight" when he set eyes on the ancient glaciers of the Chamonix valley. He has since climbed the world-famous Mont Blanc peak more than 150 times, including "two years ago, for my 79th birthday". But over his long lifetime Fernand has seen his beloved glaciers melt by more than 150 metres. "With global warming everything is different", he says. Trees are now growing much higher in the mountains and birds don't bother to migrate for winter. Fernand takes his great-grandchildren, Jean and Rudy, high up in the mountains to ski on artificial snow as the ski slope in the village has long since closed. 3000 lorries "taking French potatoes to Italy and bringing them back as mash" drive right past Fernand's house every day. "It's madness. Madness." Fernand joins bicycle protests and plants 900 trees, but knows he does so in vain. "I think people in the future will be angry at us for not thinking to protect the environment. We only thought to profit from it."



"I think I’m the oldest guide still working. And that to me is a beautiful thing.
I won’t stop as long as I can still walk."

"When I first saw all these mountains. The beauty. It was wonderful.
It was truly love at first sight."

"We have to change lots of things. Change the whole system. And we can’t wait.
Because the planet won’t wait. Maybe it’s already too late."

"We created this problem. Always progress, progress, progress.
Always demanding more and more from the planet."


I'm in love! With an 81 year old!
Signed-up snowboarding addict
Camera attached to bungee, Franny attached to helicopter
Barely broke a sweat cycling 20km uphill aged 82



This is a short intro to Fernand from an early rough cut of the film.
The real thing will no doubt be very different, but this is the general idea.


FERNAND'S PICTURES- click on images for larger version

 Fernand apres ski  Fernand remembers when there were no ladders and you just stepped straight onto the glacier.
 Ten minute nap between two-day glacier hike and three hour rock climbing session  Noone escapes getting bossed around by Franny